At cheaper prices for the people, the local production of materials helps fulfill an old desire: to build a safe, comfortable and durable home, especially for the most humble.
Hundreds of people subsidized through this variant acquire important components for their new home, such as Manuel González, a 72-year-old artisan, chronic asthmatic, retired by expert opinion more than 20 years ago.
They approved the subsidy in 2016, and he still lacks cement to complete several constructive actions, like his sister Zeida, 69 years old.
The tiles of 15 X 40 centimeters, manufactured in El Jardin UEB in Artemisa, cost 3.65 pesos, compared to the seven pesos that must be paid when acquiring those of 15 X 50, from Flores Betancourt UEB, therefore they are cheaper for those who undertake constructive work, especially subsidized ones.
The costs of the industry exceed the pocket of millions, and what they give to the stores of materials does not replace one hundred percent of the housing needs; hence the insistence on strengthening, closer to Cubans, the daily manufacture of the main lines that a house demands: blocks, floor and ceiling elements.
Quality, shortages and molds troubles
The old brick factory in Cayajabos community is currently El Jardín UEB , from Provincial Company of Maintenance and Construction, in which they elaborate 16 lines of those included in the National Program of Local Production and Sale of Materials (80% destined to the Mincin, and the rest to government works ).
Obi Fonseca, director of the entity , said that they manufacture blocks of 15 X40 cm , 10 X 50 cmand 10 X 40, the channel, platelets and joists for roofs, tanks for water, tiles, plateaus with hollow and without hollow, laundries, bricks of mud, frames of doors and windows, concrete slats, blocks of 15 centimeters, and "in the next months we will receive molds of 20 cm blocks that are used in foundations".
More than 40 persons work in this entity , distributed by brigades; one in charge of producing blocks, which can produce up to 800 a day, but currently achieve 510 due to the reduced space where they work.
And, although it seems hard to believe, in many occasions materials are accumulated in the UEB areas , because of the delivery delay to the subsidized.
They also once obtained mortesac, a cement powder used in "fine" or "fat" plasters, as the case may be, that they have never sold to the population.
Work does not stop at El Jardín. But, the constant control of the quality and aesthetics of its productions persists as the Achilles heel of what they manufacture; therefore, "One percent financing was approved for the civil construction of a laboratory, where we will perform resistance tests. We receive part of the equipment through a donation. "
The good news must bear fruit from the proper training of those who work there; so many people like Manuel will not have to regret the poor quality of the floor elements.
In the last National Verification to the Program of Production and Sale of Materials, last May, Artemisa achieved a satisfactory result, after getting a Bad evaluation in the previous tour. "We obtained that qualification due to difficulties in the maintenance of equipment and the contamination of aggregates, among other problems."
However, Mariel township had a different fate, deserving the Bad category. Raúl Pino, deputy director of infrastructure and investments in the town, said that in the module they produce 14 lines, such as the demanded granite tiles, a traditional product in the municipality and whose production has stabilized in the UEB.
During our visit we checked the presence of several equipment manufactured by the workers themselves: an arm polisher, a hammer mill to process the stone that gives color to the slab, and others. Also, they have made some window supports, as a test.
Ángel Álvarez, director of the UEB of Local Production for Bauta, Caimito, Guanajay and Mariel, maintained that in the latter they direct the efforts to guarantee materials for a daily housing, in line with the request of Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of the Councils of State and Ministers.
The little delivery of aggregates, granite, and molds for concrete slats and frames of doors and windows, hinder that purpose, while firm hands wait in the eagerness to keep the nearby store supplied.
"Quality is not certified on a daily basis, because there is no laboratory in the territory," said the deputy chief of Infrastructure. "That was one of the reasons why we got Bad category." The revisions are carried out by technicians from the ENIA in Pinar del Río, approximately every two months.
In the same way there is a scarcity of joists and platelets, and the number of molds of both is insufficient (55 when a house requires 144, and 19 when it requires 24 joists).
Neither the supply of aggregates, cement, sand and granite supports the interest of Omar Prieto, free lancer contracted with the module, who recovered an old mechanical workshop in Juan Manuel Castiñeiras school.
In charge of six laborious boys, he makes more than 3,000 blocks a month -among other materials- and about 100 square meters of floor. Part of these assortments have been allocated to the construction of Orlando Santana polyclinic.
An arm polisher is the result of his skill, two layer layers, and they gave him two hammer mills. "In one of them I process glass bottles for bricks," he says.
Create bases towards future
León Pérez, specialist who attends the Program of Local Production and Sale of Materials in the Provincial Administration, confirmed the arrival in Artemisa in the second semester of five laboratories, to install in Güira de Melena, Alquízar, Artemisa, Candelaria and San Cristóbal townships , that will support neighboring municipalities.
"In addition, they will obtain concrete mixers, hydraulic presses, vehicle blocks and computer equipment. At the moment the blocks and the floor can be sampled in the Tomás Álvarez Breto UEB , in Artemisa and the roofs in Pinar del Río ".
Perez added that they received a shipment of molds for concrete slats, which will make it possible to complete 76 in each municipality, as long as companies such as Evelio Prieto, in Guanajay; Shipyards Roberto Nodarse, in Mariel and IMECA, in Güira, manufacture molds.
Fuel reduction, lack of quality sand due to deficiencies in the Bahia Honda and San Cristóbal quarries (they receive less than half of the thousand cubic meters needed in the month), as well as the deficit in cement supply, especially in the first quarter, do not favor t this noble program.
The official added that in July six municipalities must be ready to manufacture every day that requires a house, 80 lines, including plastics and pipes, between state and non-state management.
But the strength of local production lies in the comminment of its workers and managers, in the unity of all those involved in the use of natural sources, deposits of mud, quarries or debris. Only this way will this initiative be opened, with a view to becoming a prime option in the construction of houses in Cuba.
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